October 23, 2013
“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” —Phyllis Diller
Sophie woke up wanting to “teach the boys how to paint.” She’s not the most patient of teachers. She also dislikes mixing colors. Although the pictures depict a rather lovely experience (and for awhile, it was), it did not end well. I suppose, for a more truthful depiction, I should take pictures across the spectrum. Too often, though, I’m solving and resolving at the one of the spectrum, leaving little time for picture-taking—whereas the other end of the spectrum is the stuff you dream motherhood is going to be, with plenty of time for dreamy documenting.
“A child’s attitude toward everything is an artist’s attitude.” —Willa Cather
In addition to the three bedrooms and one bath on our second floor there is a small, maybe 8×10 room that the previous owners used as a walk-in closet. We live in a foursquare, which means our first floor consists of an entry, living room, dining room and kitchen. There’s no big finished basement. The attic is large and tall and will make a beautiful finished space someday, although Andy keeps reminding me it will be a many-years-from-now someday. In short, we don’t have a lot of extra space for toys. So we decided to turn what was a walk-in closet into a playroom. The kids still have toys in their bedrooms. Baskets of toys reside in the entry. And living room. The play kitchen is in the dining room. And there’s always a block or car under foot in the kitchen. But this room, although small, holds many—if not most—of the toys (particularly, the craft supplies). It serves as a creative space, a space I don’t mind getting messy. And often it’s a quiet space for Sophie to retreat to, when she’s tired of the boys “decorating” her artwork.
The shelving unit is the ever-popular EXPEDIT from Ikea. For storage we purchased eight DRONA Boxes, also from Ikea. They’re fine, given the price, but I often wish the unit was filled with prettier baskets.
We were going to paint an entire wall with black chalkboard paint … until Andy found some old slate roof tiles in our attic. I fell in love with them, and insisted we use them as chalkboards instead.
The eraser, from my mom’s teaching days, reminds me so much of elementary school, clapping those green-covered erasers together, washing down the black chalkboards with a bucket and sponge.
This artwork, courtesy of the kids, hangs on Ikea’s DEKA curtain wire.
This lovely little table was a gift to Sophie several years ago, from Grandma and Paw Paw.
I love Land of Nod’s Art Caddy. Every time I order something from Land of Nod I tend to throw one of these in my online shopping basket. We now own three, and each is used every day.
Some of the storage isn’t quite adequate, but works. Plastic shoe boxes from Target hold shells and snake skin, poofy balls, glittery ribbon and plastic beads. A wooden crate from a Melissa & Doug musical instrument kit holds all the Play-Doh. And dress-up clothes reside in a (very) large basket on the floor.
Two paper lanterns hang in the room. They were a gift from my friend Linda, who found them in a “free” pile at work.
This little handmade wooden toy, which I purchased at Tamarack, often resides on the window sill.
This guy is a handmade toy from Switzerland. My mother-in-law purchased it for me years ago while on a business trip. I miscarried, and the toy sat on our piano in an otherwise toy-empty house for a long time. And now I smile every time I look at it and its surroundings.
Perhaps my favorite decorative element of the playroom, though, is this. Sophie drew it and hung it up on the wall with a red glitter heart sticker. It’s a picture of Sophie and Andy, and when Andy asked her about it she said it was called “Between Friends.”
The playroom small. And still needs (a little) work. But it’s loved and played in every day. Which, I suppose, is the very definition, and purpose, of a playroom.
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson